FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT: BSL's First-Year Electrical Apprentice of the Year 2018 Ainsley Cooper hasn't looked back since starting her apprenticeship.
FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT: BSL's First-Year Electrical Apprentice of the Year 2018 Ainsley Cooper hasn't looked back since starting her apprenticeship. Contributed

The local roles leading to huge local success

STUDENTS considering their next move after high school are being encouraged to keep their eyes on local opportunities following the success of recent graduates.

Rio Tinto Yarwun and Boyne Smelters Limited are holding two family information nights in June to show school-leavers that big opportunities are not necessarily only available in the big cities.

Boyne Smelters Limited First-Year Electrical Apprentice of the Year 2018 Ainsley Cooper undertook a local electrical apprentice role post-school and said she hadn't looked back.

"It was really hard to see my friends planning to move away for university but after seeing the opportunities my dad has with his trade I knew it was something I wanted," she said.

"Taking on an apprenticeship ... offered me hands-on experience balanced with theory relevant to the projects I'm working on.

"It's great to be able to take what I know and share with others what an apprenticeship really is."

Gladstone's inability to retain a portion of its teen cohort straight out of high school was an issue recently flagged by demographer Bernard Salt as part of The Observer's Future CQ forum in March.

Mr Salt said it was important to champion local success stories to change young people's attitudes towards the Port City and the outflow could be reduced by improving access to tertiary education and providing more courses and training opportunities locally.

"There is a culture of people citing people who used to live there and saying 'that person who is a famous sports person used to live here'," he said.

"When you showcase and remark upon people who are famous and used to live here, you're sending a subliminal message to every 16-year-old that success is measured by success somewhere else.

"You should be saying 'look at that 28-year-old, he plays footy on the weekend or she plays netball on a weekend, they had started a business, employed two apprentices and they make a contribution to the local community."

The information sessions on June 3 at the Kalori Training and Conference Centre and June 11 at CQU Gladstone Marina Campus aim to do just that - highlight the success of local apprentices.

A recent apprentice at Rio Tinto Yarwun, graduate Nathan Dunnett is also showcasing how his career has progressed since deciding to stay on with Rio Tinto Yarwun after graduating high school in 2011.

He started with local electricians around the region to gain work experience before taking on his trade.

Mr Dunnett completed a dual trade in electrical and instrumentation and holds an associate degree in electrical engineering and has since been awarded a Queensland Overseas Foundation scholarship, cementing him as one of Queensland's top five vocational education graduates.

"It's hard for me to believe an apprenticeship could get me where I am," he said.

"I have two trades under my belt, nearly half a decade of experience and I'm planning to live and work overseas doing something I love."

Both information sessions start at 5.30pm, reservations are not required.



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